Building Power to Fix the Food System: How do YOU Make a Difference?

Facilitators: Liana Hoodes and Patty Lovera

Change happens because we make it happen. Learn how to make policy change on the local, state, and federal levels with lobbying, advocacy and organizing, and hear stories about campaigns – local as well as much bigger – that have made a difference. Learn the nitty gritty of what it takes to do make change and to organize with others to do it.

Organic Inspections

Facilitators: Darren Maum and Lori Kenyon

NOFA-NY Organic Inspector Darren Maum along with Certification Director, Lori Kenyon, will discuss the process of an organic inspection including purpose, preparation before inspection, actual inspection process, and what to expect after the inspection.

Building a Soil Health Program for NYS

Facilitators: Elizabeth Henderson and Peter Lehner

We want to develop a campaign for New York State to adopt incentives for healthy soil practices. To do this we need YOUR answers to four big questions:

  1. What are the main practices that should be encouraged and – most important – can you help us compile proof that these practices are good for the climate and water? Can you help us demonstrate that they are profitable for the producer?

  2. What would be the best incentives or support mechanisms that would help you and those you know accelerate adoption of these practices? Education, and if so by whom about what? Equipment loans, and if so, what type? Other non-financial assistance, and if so, what? Financial assistance, and if so, how determined (per acre of certain practice? By demonstrated difference in downstream water quality? etc.) One-time or on-going?

  3. What would be the best way to finance such a program, ideally a way to raise money that itself creates proper incentives? Could New York State adopt a fertilizer fee or would the farm community strongly oppose that, even if the money all came back to the farm community?

  4. Who would be the best allies for such a campaign and who would be the main opponents? What arguments will the opponents make and how can we overcome them? What issues would be of greatest concern to potential allies?

How Do We Build a Rural Future that Provides just Livelihoods and Food Access for All?

Facilitators: Michelle Drozd and Tatiana Abatemarco

In this session, members of the North Country Food Justice Working Group will address farms and related businesses as economic drivers in the North Country. Sustainable farms have been put forth as a means toward community revitalization in the Adirondacks, evidencing environmental sustainability, but are they equally economically and socially sustainable? Come join us to talk about how we remake rural communities to build just economies.

Real Organic project

Facilitator: Dave Chapman

The Real Organic Project is a national coalition formed to protect the core principles of organic agriculture. Bowing to corporate pressure, the National Organic Program has abandoned some of the foundational principles of organic farming, such as growing in the soil and pasture access for all livestock. The Real Organic Project was formed as a response to this systemic shift on the part of the USDA. Please come and learn about the ROP pilot program for an add-on label to the USDA seal. Real Organic requires production in keeping with traditional and international organic standards. Ask your questions and join a conversation about where do we go from here. Learn more about the 2019 certification program to protect organic.

Weeds, Weeds, and More Weeds

Facilitator: Maryellen Sheehan

2018 had wonky weather with high weed pressure across the state, so let's get together to talk weed management strategies. Are there new weeds popping up on your farm or new challenges arising because of extreme weather? What's working or not working in your management? Have you tried any new equipment or strategies and want to share results, or do you want to ask other growers about cultivation equipment you are thinking of buying? Let's share strategies to more efficiently manage weeds over the long haul.

Building a Thriving CSA Network

Facilitator: Briana Alfaro

We invite beginning and advanced farmers and farm workers to share their successes, experiences and questions when it comes to starting and running a Community Supported Agriculture program. As part of a collaborative project with FairShare CSA Coalition and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, NOFA-NY will collect your stories, suggestions and needs to better understand the resources necessary to build a vibrant network of viable CSA farms. This session offers the opportunity for exchange between existing and developing alliances in the region and beyond. 

Cooperative Processing Facility for Hemp

Facilitator: Chris Cardillo

Discuss building a cooperative processing facility for cannabis products.

Vegetable Variety Roundtable

Facilitator: Pete Zuck

Join us for a discussion of vegetable varieties. Come to share what cultivars you love, and hear from other growers what's worked for them. Do you have particular soil, pest, disease, or markets that you need new variety ideas for? Bring your questions and suggestions!

Achieving a Living Wage for Farmers and Farm Workers

Facilitators: Louis Battalen and Elizabeth Henderson

What will it take to transform work on organic farms into respected careers, with livable compensation and dignified livelihoods for both farmers and farm workers? NOFA Fair Trade Committee member Louis Battalen will moderate this roundtable discussion, with Elizabeth Henderson of Peacework Farm as the invited guest farmer. We will discuss the challenges organic farmers face practicing their social justice values of fairness, while ensuring that both they & their workers are paid fairly. Particular questions we will address could include: How can farms manage to pay more and adjust to a rising minimum wage, especially following these two years of drought and excess rain? What would $15.00 an hour look like and require? What kind of mutuality of support between farmer and farm worker could occur to realize this goal? How can we contribute to making our farms centers of fair and just relationships and viable and sustainable operations as well? How can farms demand prices that fully cover production costs including fair wages for both farmers & farm workers? Is targeting high end markets the sole approach? What other strategies are available? What can NOFA-NY do as an institution and we as individual NOFA members within the NOFA framework?

Farmer’s Pledge

Facilitators: Mark Dunau and Paul Loomis

The Farmer’s Pledge is a NOFA-NY pledge of sustainable farming practices attested to by farmers, and sponsored by NOFA-NY since 2003. The Farmer’s Pledge is used by farmers for diverse reasons: a desire to describe agroecological practices without the involvement of the USDA; an inclusion of labor and social justice policies; and/or, a stepping stone to organic certification. The discussion will include a history of the Farmer’s Pledge, advocacy and criticism of the Pledge, proposals for the addition of policies and words to The Farmer’s Pledge, and recommendations to improve NOFA-NY’s administration of the Pledge. 

Farmer Veteran Networking Session

Facilitators: Andy Pressman and Daniel Prial

Farmer Veterans and Service Providers: please join us for an hour of conversation as we talk about issues unique to military veterans in agriculture. Representatives from Cornell Small Farms Program and the National Center for Appropriate Technology will share information about their Farm Ops and Armed to Farm programs plus other available resources. Come share your farm experience and help us create new ideas to support veterans in agriculture. The New York chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition will provide refreshments.


Facilitators: Bethany Wallis and Laura Colligan

This is an opportunity for young farmers to come together to discuss what their needs are to become or remain successful organic farmers. Your ideas will help to shape NOFA-NY’s educational programming in the future!


Facilitator: NOFA-NY Education Team

Join members of NOFA-NY to share your thoughts on what you would like to see in our educational programming.